Mail and Shipping
Mail and Shipping
The Turkish for "post office" is postane. Post offices are painted bright yellow and have "PTT" (Post and Telegraph Organization) signs on the front. Most post offices are open Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm, with some central locations in larger cities also open on Saturday, usually for shorter hours. Turks use franking machines in post offices rather than postage stamps. The latter are still available at post offices but are mainly sold to philatelists and nostalgists. Envelopes and boxes may be sold in kiosks not far from post offices.
Mail sent from Turkey can take from 3 to 10 days, or more, to reach a destination in Europe or abroad. Be warned that the mail service is erratic and that you may arrive home long before your postcards do.
Postage rates are frequently adjusted to keep pace with inflation. It generally costs about $1 to send a postcard from Turkey to the United States. Shipping a 10-pound rug home via surface mail will cost about $35 and take at least three to four weeks to arrive.
If you want to receive mail in Turkey and you're uncertain where you'll be staying, have mail sent to Postrestant, Merkez Postanesi (Central Post Office), in the town of your choice.
Overnight and Express Services
The main couriers (DHL, FedEx, UPS, etc.) have offices in Istanbul, but it will probably take three days for a package to reach the United States or United Kingdom.
Some stores and sellers in bazaars will offer to arrange to ship goods for you but where possible, it's better to carry your purchases home with you—even if you have to pay for excess baggage. Most parcels sent from Turkey through the postal service do eventually arrive at their destination, but be aware there is a risk they may become damaged or lost in transit. (Unscrupulous sellers have also been known to swap out the item actually purchased for a cheaper one of poorer quality.) Other alternatives, such as courier services or shipping companies, are quicker and more reliable but often very expensive.